Dear Reader #158

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Delighted to say that my books are now available in twelve languages. Here’s my latest, the Dutch version of Operation Broadsword, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE book three, my 112th translation 🙂

Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the answers to these questions in her roots?

John Merle Saint. Picture courtesy of Eva Marie Saint.

I’ve discovered that John Merle Saint was Eva Marie’s father and that he served in World War One. Today’s record is a US World War One Draft Registration Card. This card provides the following information:

John Merle Saint
RaceCaucasian (White)
Marital StatusSingle
Birth Date13 Oct 1891
Birth PlaceIowa
Residence Date1917-1918
Street Address354 So. Highland

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Dear Reader #157

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

I’m excited to introduce a new project, Tula, a novel set in the 1920s. Tula is an actress who has climbed from the gutter to become a major star in Hollywood. However, as the story opens, she is in an asylum. How did she get there?

Tula believes that the recent death of her father triggered her emotional collapse. However, as she chronicles the first twenty-four years of her life, she discovers the true trigger for her breakdown.

This story might sound dark, but light arrives in the shape of Tula’s determination to escape from poverty, and her strength in facing up to and overcoming her emotional problems.

Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the…

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Dear Reader #156

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Are actresses/writers/etc born or made? Where does their talent come from? To answer this question, I intend to trace the ancestry of creative people born in the first quarter of the twentieth century, to see if their ancestors displayed any creative traits.

I’m starting with my favourite actress, Eva Marie Saint. Eva Marie Saint first came to my attention in the movie ‘36 Hours’, where she co-starred with my favourite actor, James Garner. After that, I enjoyed her classic performances in movies such as On The Waterfront and North by Northwest.

Eva Marie Saint’s acting career is well documented. For this project, I’m interested in the period before she was famous, and in her ancestors’ roots. Where was she born? Where did her ancestors come from? What trades did they follow? Time to search the records…

I’ve found Eva in the 1940 United States Federal Census. This is…

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Dear Reader #155

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

“Comic book characters never grow old, evergreen heroes whose stories are told.” – Bernie Taupin. It seems to me that every actor has a ‘perfect’ moment, a moment you remember forever. Eva Marie Saint was 98 recently, but I’ll always think of her as 35 in North By Northwest.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 34 of the magazine.

The River Thames was, of course, central to London’s development. The dockyards and shipbuilding thrived, and both industries employed a number of my ancestors. Two of London’s most important dockyards were Deptford and Woolwich, with their strategic positions on the Thames.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries corruption in the dockyards was rife. Clerks and labourers were badly paid. Consequently, they cheated the system by falsifying records and siphoning-off goods. Samuel Pepys tried to combat the corruption by introducing new systems of record-keeping, to no…

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Dear Reader #154

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Find Me If You Can, Series 1, Episode 8 of The Rockford Files opens with an intriguing premise: a client, Barbara, hires Rockford to find her. She offers him no information about herself, so the task looks difficult. However, Rockford rises to the challenge.

Paul Michael Glaser, pictured, is suitably dark as the villain, while the overall theme of the story is noir-ish. Indeed, Chandler’s Marlowe would have felt at home on these mean streets.

Lots of great dialogue in this one. Rocky (Rockford’s father) on observing a cut near his son’s left eye, “Look at that gash – two inches to the right, and you’d have been missing that eye.” Rockford, “Two inches to the left and he would have missed me completely.”

📸 Wikipedia

By 1700 London was becoming the hub of an empire. This was reflected in the grand buildings and squares that developed in…

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Dear Reader #153

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Operation Rose, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book seven.

The Big Ripoff, Series 1, Episode 7 of The Rockford Files is a strong episode with some noir touches. In the early episodes of the series there is a sense that Rockford is a ‘loser’ in that he’s always the one being ripped-off. That pattern changed as the series progressed and in this episode, financially at least, Rockford emerges as a winner.

Some neat dialogue, which sums up Rockford’s character. Marilyn, a model, “Is there anything you won’t do for money?”

Rockford, “I won’t kill for it, and I won’t marry for it. Other than that, I’m open to just about anything.”

📸Jill Clayburgh who guest-starred as Marilyn.

Welsh Football Legends

David Lloyd Bowen was born in Maesteg on 7 June 1928. His professional career as a club footballer centred on two…

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Dear Reader #152

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Italian version of Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series, book seventeen.

This Case is Closed, Series 1, Episode 6 of The Rockford Files is a feature-length episode. The series often featured ninety-minute episodes, which explored more complex plots, social issues, and included special guest stars.

The longer episodes also allowed for a slower pace of direction, and longer scenes, such as the car chase at the beginning of This Case is Closed.

Joseph Cotton, pictured, appeared in this episode. A leading Hollywood actor during the 1940s, Joseph Cotton’s theatre, radio, movie and television credits are numerous. He appeared in many classics including Citizen Kane and The Third Man.

After the Great Fire of London in 1666 many individuals presented great schemes to rebuild and revolutionise the city. These individuals included John Evelyn, Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke.

Their plans included replacing the…

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Dear Reader #151

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Dutch version of Operation Locksmith, Eve’s War, Heroines of SOE book two.

Tall Woman in Red Wagon, Series 1, Episode 5 of The Rockford Files is a ‘flashback’ story with Rockford recalling events after a bullet-inducing concussion.

Rockford’s printing press appears in this episode. One of the main features of The Rockford Files was the way Rockford teased information out of various people by impersonating numerous officials, his credentials always supported by cards freshly minted by his printing press.

There is no neat ending to this episode. I like that format and sometimes use it in my stories. In the main, readers and viewers like the author to wrap up all the lose ends, but in real life lose ends often roll on, and on…

📸A still from Tall Woman in Red Wagon.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed 436 acres of…

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Dear Reader #150

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest article for the Seaside News.

The teleplay for Exit Prentiss Carr, Series 1, Episode 4 of The Rockford Files, was written by long-standing Rockford Files associate Juanita Bartlett (pictured).

This episode was set in the fictitious town of Bay City. Raymond Chandler set his 1940 novel Farewell My Lovely in Bay City, so presumably Exit Prentiss Carr was a homage to Chandler. Bay City also appeared in season two of The Rockford Files.

James Garner appeared in every scene in this episode. When that happens in detective fiction I think it makes for a stronger story, but obviously it’s quite demanding for the lead actor.

In the late sixteenth century, London had four regular companies and six permanent playhouses with plays performed every day except Sunday. The plays were popular with rich and poor alike with prices set to attract lower paid workers.

The authorities loathed…

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Dear Reader #149

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

The Countess, Series 1, Episode 3 of The Rockford Files saw another solid story from John Thomas James enlivened by crisp dialogue from Stephen J. Cannell. Joe Santos as the long-suffering Sergeant Becker appears in this episode.

In a phone call with Rockford, Becker implies that his wife’s name is Nancy. However, when that character appears later in the series, played by Pat Finley, her name is Peggy. Incidentally, she is one of my favourite side-characters in the series.

Mistakes in long-running series are inevitable. It’s hard enough for writers to keep track of events in real life, let alone in a fictional universe. The fact that fans notice any errors is a compliment to a series, I reckon; it highlights their deep commitment.

Susan Strasberg, ‘The Countess’.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries (1535 – 40) created great wealth for some, and more modest opportunities for others. The…

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